Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Backup QBs will get practice reps

This is an excellent idea - both Russell Bellomy and Devin Gardner will be getting reps at quarterback this week, rather than just Bellomy.

Senior Highlights: Logan Tuley-Tillman

Below are some highlights from Peoria (IL) Manual offensive tackle Logan Tuley-Tillman, a class of 2013 commitment.  I was rather critical of his technique when he committed, and I stand by those comments.  However, I do have to call a spade a spade - I think Tuley-Tillman has improved significantly since his junior year.  He still gets a little high at times and doesn't always keep his feet moving through contact, but his pass blocking has taken a giant step forward and he keeps a wider base when run blocking.  It seems that an off-season of working out at camps and such has really taken hold.  When I update TTB Ratings (likely in the next month or so), Tuley-Tillman should get bumped up from his current rating of 79.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Rich Rodriguez
Former Michigan S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 5 tackles in Toledo's 25-20 victory over Buffalo.

Former Michigan S Carvin Johnson: Johnson had 6 tackles and 2 pass breakups in Hampton's 21-13 victory over Savannah State.

Former Michigan RB Sam McGuffie: McGuffie had 1 reception for 19 yards in Rice's 44-17 victory over Southern Mississippi.

Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez: Arizona beat USC by a score of 39-36 to score his biggest victory yet as the Wildcats' head coach.  They put up 219 yards rushing and 369 yards passing.  Wide receiver Austin Hill had 10 receptions for 259 yards.  Arizona is now 5-3.  Rodriguez is getting a little bit of heat, however, for sending quarterback Matt Scott back into the game after he was showing concussion symptoms.

Former Michigan CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had 3 tackles in Cincinnati's 34-31 loss to Louisville.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Big Ten power rankings - Week 10

Gia Macool
Michigan drops to #4 in this week's power rankings.

Video: Brady Hoke postgame - Nebraska 2012

Video: Inside Michigan Football 2012 - Episode 10

Recruiting Update: October 30, 2012

Christian LaCouture on his visit to Michigan (image via The M Block)
Lincoln (NE) Southwest defensive end Christian LaCouture decommitted from Nebraska.  The 6'5", 275 lb. end was previously committed to Texas A&M, and now he seems to be strongly considering LSU.  Michigan was in his top three prior to the Nebraska commitment, but the Wolverines no longer seem to be in the picture.  In his senior season, LaCouture had 101 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 6 fumble recovers; he also had 12 carries for 109 yards on offense.  This is a particularly interesting decommitment because LaCouture moved from Texas to Lincoln, NE, prior to his senior year.

Pomfret (MD) McDonogh offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers was offered by Michigan.  The 6'5", 278-pounder has offers from Florida, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, USC, and Washington; the Terrapins and Gamecocks are considered to be his leaders, and it sounds like he won't give the Wolverines much of a look.  He was offered in response to David Dawson's decommitment from Michigan.

Check out the Recruit Tracker series for updates on how Michigan's commits are doing this season.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Smart Football: Bill Snyder - Miracle Worker

Paris Roxanne
The ancient Kansas State head coach has done a ridiculously efficient job of turning around KSU's program.

Highlights: Nebraska 23, Michigan 7

Michigan vs. Nebraska Awards

No. 16 isn't allowed to get hurt anymore. (image via
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Gardner at quarterback.  He might not have done any better than Russell Bellomy (3/16, 38 yards, 3 interceptions), but he couldn't have done much worse.  In Gardner's career, he's 11/23 for 176 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Russell Bellomy, obviously.  I still believe he'll eventually be a competent quarterback, but if there was any question about whether he's ready or not, that was answered on Saturday night.  The coaches insisted in the off-season that Gardner was the #2 quarterback; well, now it's time to make sure that happens.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . nobody.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Jake Ryan at defensive end.  Ryan is much more effective as a SAM linebacker, and Cameron Gordon is a downgrade at the position.  Ryan played a fair amount of defensive end because Frank Clark missed the game due to an ankle injury, so hopefully that injury heals quickly and #47 can go back to his regular position.

Play of the game . . . linebacker Desmond Morgan broke up a pass headed for the left flat, and freshman defensive end Mario Ojemudia - who was playing defensive tackle on the play - hustled after the play to make a diving interception.

MVP of the game . . . Craig Roh.  Nobody did well offensively, but Roh made several nice plays from his defensive end position.  Last year defensive linemen Ryan Van Bergen and Mike Martin dominated up front, and Roh carried on that tradition this year.  He had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss (for 15 yards), and 1 sack (for 10 yards).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Instant analysis - Nebraska 23, Michigan 9

Alicia Whitten
Adam Rittenberg shares his thoughts on Michigan's Saturday night loss to Nebraska.

Nebraska 23, Michigan 9

She's better than any pictures from the game, I think.
The QB situation.  I don't even know where to start.  Denard Robinson was playing okay before he got hurt (6/11 for 55 yards; 10 carries for 46 yards).  After that all hell broke loose.  Redshirt freshman backup quarterback Russell Bellomy entered the game and threw eleven or twelve straight incomplete passes.  He finished the game 3/16 for 38 yards and 3 interceptions, along with taking 2 sacks.  His receivers dropped some passes, but mostly the throws were inaccurate and uncatchable.  At some point Devin Gardner should have been inserted as the quarterback.  Brady Hoke and Al Borges have insisted that Gardner is their #2 quarterback, and while that obviously hasn't been true, even the #3 guy should be given a shot when #2 can't get the job done.  The Wolverines were down by a touchdown or less for most of the game, and Gardner might  have been able to provide a spark.  He's obviously not the best quarterback in the land, but he does have some athleticism to improvise if the play breaks down.  Bellomy looked absolutely lost.

Al Borges anger?  Am I mad at Al Borges?  A little.  The throwback screen to Jeremy Gallon has become way too predictable, for one.  But I'm certainly not mad at him for calling the plays he did after Bellomy entered.  Borges gave Bellomy some easy throws early, and Bellomy threw them into the ground or sailed them over the receivers' heads.  What plays should an offensive coordinator call for a guy who's bad at running every play?  Aside from running the ball, which wasn't working (Fitzgerald Toussaint had 15 carries for 38 yards), there's not much an OC can do.  Nebraska blitzed Bellomy on passing downs, and they sucked up on the short routes because Bellomy doesn't like to throw downfield.  If I remember correctly, he threw exactly two passes beyond 15 yards; the first was an incompletion to Roy Roundtree in the endzone that was incorrectly called pass interference against the defense; the second was to a double-covered Devin Gardner that turned into an interception.  Bellomy is terrible at this stage in his career.

Quarterback recruiting and development.  I have been beating this drum now for a couple years, but Brady Hoke should have taken a quarterback in the class of 2012.  Michigan is apparently down to two quarterbacks on the roster: Robinson and Bellomy.  Gardner has been limited to wide receiver exclusively.  Even if the freshman isn't good, he would at least give the Wolverines another option if Bellomy stinks it up as the backup.  Hoke offered just eight quarterbacks in the 2012 class, and none really seemed to be heavily pursued.  Additionally, I'm still annoyed that Rich Rodriguez burned Devin Gardner's redshirt back in 2010.  From what I understand, the belief is that he will not be granted a fifth year of eligibility, and now he's a true junior instead of a redshirt sophomore.  Even if Hoke wanted to develop Gardner as the heir apparent to Robinson, he would only have a year to play the position.  Both of Michigan's most recent coaches have failed to handle the quarterback position appropriately over the last few years.

Michigan's run defense was excellent.  By the end of the game, Nebraska was wearing down the Wolverines a little bit.  But even with some big runs by running back Ameer Abdullah and quarterback Taylor Martinez late in the game, they combined for 159 yards on 38 carries, which is just barely over 4 yards/carry.  If Michigan's offense could have stayed on the field longer and kept them in the game, I doubt the Wolverines would have had the same kinds of breakdowns.

Michigan's secondary was burned several times.  Raymon Taylor was torched.  J.T. Floyd was beaten a couple times and picked up two pass interference calls.  Jordan Kovacs was beaten.  Thomas Gordon was beaten for a touchdown, albeit by an illegal pick.

The referees were terrible.  It went both ways, but the refs were bad.  The early 55-yard catch by Roy Roundtree was ruled as a reception on the field, and there wasn't enough evidence to overturn it; yet overturn it they did.  Vincent Smith's diving attempt that launched the ball up into the arms of P.J. Smith could have been overturned just as easily as the Roundtree play, but the interception was upheld.  Bellomy's deep ball to Roundtree shouldn't have been called pass interference against Nebraska.  There were numerous holding calls that they missed, including against Taylor Lewan, who has been committing way too many infractions.  Nebraska also took a penalty for targeting Jeremy Jackson, but the defender led with his shoulder and hit Jackson in the chest, not the head.

Much of this could be fixed if Michigan could run the ball.  Outside of Denard Robinson, nobody on Michigan's team can run the ball effectively this year.  Michigan's interior offensive line is weak, and honestly, it's the two most experienced guys who are playing the worst, in my opinion.  Ricky Barnum and Patrick Omameh, both of whom are fifth year seniors, have often failed to get a push.  Center Elliott Mealer has been mediocre, but he hasn't played much in his career.  Offensively, Michigan doesn't have an identity.  The offensive line has been pretty healthy, but they can't run the ball; both quarterbacks have been subpar in the passing game; the receivers are average.  Unless Denard Robinson is running the ball, Michigan is ineffective.  Now Michigan has gone two consecutive games without a touchdown, and you can't put your defense in that type of situation consistently and expect to win.

Saturday, October 27, 2012 Mega guide to Michigan vs. Nebraska put together a series of articles about the Michigan vs. Nebraska game.  I figured I'd share, since I didn't have time to do a game preview.

Recruit Tracker: Logan Tuley-Tillman

Logan Tuley-Tillman
August 24, 2012: Tuley-Tillman's Peoria (IL) Manual team lost to Pekin (IL) Pekin by a score of 42-0.

September 1, 2012: Manual lost to Charleston (IL) Charleston by a score of 49-0.  Manual is now 0-2.

September 8, 2012: Manual lost to Chicago (IL) Marshall by a score of 40-20.  Manual is now 0-3.

September 15, 2012: Manual lost to Peoria (IL) Peoria by a score of 44-0.  Peoria featured fellow Michigan offeree Josh Augusta.  Manual is now 0-4.

September 21, 2012: Manual lost to Chillicothe (IL) Illinois Valley Central by a score of 35-8.  Tuley-Tillman had 14 tackles and 10 pancake blocks.  Manual is now 0-5.

September 28, 2012: Manual lost to Peoria (IL) Richwoods by a score of 48-6.  Tuley-Tillman had 4 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 9 pancake blocks.  Manual is now 0-6.

October 5, 2012: Manual lost to Quincy (IL) Notre Dame by a score of 48-8.  Tuley-Tillman had 8 pancake blocks, 4 tackles, and 2.5 sacks.  Manual is now 0-7.

October 12, 2012: Manual lost to Peoria (IL) Notre Dame by a score of 63-14.  Tuley-Tillman had 11 pancake blocks.  Manual is now 0-8.

October 19, 2012: Manual lost to Eureka (IL) Eureka-Roanoke Benson by a score of 38-0.  Tuley-Tillman had 11 pancake blocks, 3 tackles, and 1 sack.  Manual finishes its season 0-9.

Friday, October 26, 2012

ESPN: Big Board sees big moves

You have to be an ESPN Insider to read the article, but Taylor Lewan is the #15 prospect for the NFL Draft, according to Mel Kiper, Jr.

Attractive Michigan Girls of the Week

By reader request, here's a picture of a girl without a face.

E-mail me if you have other pictures of girls wearing Michigan gear.  Go Blue!

Preview: Michigan at Nebraska

I haven't had time this week to type up a preview, so I apologize.  But here's a picture of a hot Nebraska cheerleader and a score prediction:

Michigan 34, Nebraska 28

Roster Notes

  • Michigan recruited Nebraska LB Jared Afalava, DE Jason Ankrah, CB Charles Jackson, DE Greg McMullen, RB Tobi Okuyemi, DT Chase Rome, DT Baker Steinkuhler, OT Paul Thurston, DT Vincent Valentine, and DT Kevin Williams

Here's a look at last year's game recap and last year's awards from this game.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rivals: Mind of Mike - Hands-down choice

I'm not the biggest fan of Mike Farrell from Rivals, but he mentions several Michigan prospects in his weekly national recruiting column.

Video: Michigan Football 900 Wins

I was a wee lad in the stadium for win #700 and a bit of a grownup in the stadium for #800.  I watched #900 on the TV.  Michigan football is good times.  Go Blue!

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Zoltan Mesko

Zoltan Mesko

Zoltan Mesko hasn't had a great statistical year.  Two weeks ago I noted that he had a punting average of 39.3 yards and a net of 36.0, which at the time ranked him last and second to last in the league, respectively.  Since then he's moved up one spot in each category.  But what he's lacked in power he's made up for in accuracy, especially in his Patriots' 29-26 overtime victory over the New York Jets.  Besides acting as the holder on the game-winning field goal, Mesko placed four kicks inside the twenty and averaged 44.8 yards per punt, up nearly four yards from his current average.  Mesko may not have posted the most impressive stats out of the former Michigan athletes, but his improved special teams play was instrumental in his team's narrow victory. 

Meanwhile, Tom Brady orchestrated the game-winning drive and threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns.  Ho-hum.

Honorable Mention:  You have to be kidding me:  Stevie Brown picked off another pass and again returned it for over forty yards - which is exactly what he has done with each one of his three interceptions this year.  His Giants polished off the Redskins, 27-23, while Brown added six solo tackles and a pass deflection.  On the season he now has 26 tackles, three pass deflections, one fumble recovery and three interceptions that he has returned for an average of 44.0 yards.

Video:  Brown Intercepts R.G. III

Stevie Brown MGoBoard Thread 

  • Charles Woodson broke his collarbone and will be out approximately six weeks.  
  • LaMarr Woodley returned from his hamstring injury and picked off the fifth pass of his career.
  • David Harris recorded seven tackles and a sack on Tom Brady. 
  • Chad Henne saw game action for the second time this year.  He finished 9/20 for 71 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.
  • Mike Martin had only one tackle as the Titans won by one over the Bills.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Ten weekend rewind: Week 8

Kathleen Tesori is on the right, but I don't know the girl on the left.
Brian Bennett from ESPN looks at the best performances in the Big Ten from this past weekend.

Video: Pre-Gaming with Pat - MSU

Midseason Statistical Leaders

Dennis Norfleet - Image via

Assuming Michigan goes to the Big Ten Championship Game, the season is exactly halfway through.  Here's a look at team 133's statistical leaders so far.

Leading Rushers
Denard Robinson - 900 yards (7.4 yards per carry)
Fitzgerald Toussaint - 283 yards (3.5 yards per carry)
Thomas Rawls - 174 yards (7.0 yards per carry)

Leading Receivers
Jeremy Gallon - 309 yards, 16 catches
Devin Gardner - 251 yards, 15 catches
Drew Dileo - 216 yards, 10 catches

Leading Tacklers
Jake Ryan - 52
Desmond Morgan - 44
Thomas Gordon - 40

Leading Scorers
Brendan Gibbons - 55 points
Denard Robinson - 36 points
Toussaint and Gardner - 24 points 

Leading Sackers
Jake Ryan - 3.5
Craig Roh - 2.0

Leading Interceptors
Thomas Gordon - 2
Raymon Taylor - 2

Leading Punt Returners
Dennis Norfleet - 53 (26.5 yards per return)
Jeremy Gallon - 44 (8.8 yards per return)

Leading Kick Returners
Dennis Norfleet - 494 (23.5 yards per return)
Jeremy Gallon - 12 (12 yards per return)

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Adrian Witty (left) and high school teammate Denard Robinson (center)
Former Michigan RB Michael Cox: Cox had 10 carries for 37 yards and 1 reception for 0 yards in UMass's 24-0 loss to Bowling Green.

Former Michigan S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 6 tackles and 1 pass breakup in Toledo's 29-23 victory over previously undefeated Cincinnati.

Former Michigan RB Sam McGuffie: McGuffie had 8 receptions for 62 yards and 1 carry for 7 yards in Rice's 28-24 loss to Tulsa.

Former Michigan WR/CB commit Dewayne Peace: Peace had 4 catches for 41 yards in Houston's 72-42 loss to SMU.

Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats beat Washington by a score of 52-17.  Arizona had 533 total yards, 277 of which came on the ground.  They are now 4-3.

Former Michigan WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 5 catches for 21 yards in Bowling Green's 24-0 victory over UMass.

Former Michigan S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack in Pitt's 20-6 win over Buffalo.

Former Michigan CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack in Cincinnati's 29-23 loss to Toledo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Denard Robinson named semifinalist for Dave O'Brien award

It's just what it says - Denard Robinson is in the running to be named the nation's top quarterback.

Recruit Tracker: Denzel Ward

August 25, 2012: Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan beat Oak Park (IL) Fenwick by a score of 45-0.  Hales Franciscan is now 1-0.

September 1, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Chicago (IL) Leo by a score of 20-12.  Hales Franciscan is now 2-0.

September 8, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Chicago (IL) Julian by a score of 34-8.  Hales Franciscan is now 3-0.

September 14, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Chicago (IL) Gordon Tech by a score of 18-13.  Hales Franciscan is now 4-0.

September 22, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Lake Forest (IL) Lake Forest Academy by a score of 34-14. Hales Franciscan is now 5-0.

September 28, 2012: Hales Franciscan lost to Chicago (IL) St. Rita by a score of 45-12.  Hales Franciscan is now 5-1.

October 5, 2012: Hales Franciscan lost to Chicago (IL) St. Ignatius by a score of 20-14.  Hales Franciscan is now 5-2.

October 12, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Westchester (IL) St. Joseph by a score of 69-8.  Hales Franciscan is now 6-2.

October 19, 2012: Hales Franciscan beat Cahokia (IL) Cahokia by a score of 13-0.  Hales Franciscan is now 7-2.

Highlights: Michigan 12, Michigan State 10

Recruiting Update: October 23, 2012

Denzel Ward and Chantel Jennings
Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward committed to Michigan.

You can check out how the 2013 and 2014 commits are doing this season with our recruit tracker posts.

Here's a list of visitors from Saturday's game against Michigan State.  I've updated a few things since it was posted originally, so you may want to check it out again if you haven't seen it since it first went up.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grantland: Denver Dips Into the Old Colts Playbook

Anything Peyton Manning does is worth looking at if you're interested in learning about football.  He's one of just a couple NFL quarterbacks that I could watch endlessly.

Recruit Tracker: Csont'e York

Csont'e York

August 24, 2012: York's Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy lost to New Philadelphia (OH) New Philadelphia by a score of 56-14.  York had 5 receptions for 73 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 4 tackles and 1 interception.  Chandler Park is now 0-1.

August 31, 2012: Chandler Park beat Romulus (MI) Summit Academy by a score of 56-6.  York had 2 touchdown receptions, 2 extra point conversions, and 1 punt return touchdown.  Chandler Park is now 1-1.

September 7, 2012:  Bye week for Chandler Park.

September 14, 2012:  Chandler Park lost to Detroit (MI) Old Redford by a score of 26-20.  York caught three passes for 34 yards and one touchdown, according to an MGoObserver.  Chandler Park is now 1-2.

September 21, 2012:  Chandler Park beat up on Southfield (MI) Bradford Academy, 58-0.  York had 113 receiving yards on six catches and three touchdowns.  Chandler Park is now 2-2.

September 28, 2012:  Chandler Park defeated Detroit University Prep by a score of 18-0.  York had three catches for 39 yards and three tackles.  Chandler Park is now 3-2.

October 05, 2012:  Chandler Park won over Detroit (MI) PEC Prep by a score of 41-6.  Chandler Park is now 4-2.

October 13, 2012:  Chandler Park defeated Warren (MI) Collegiate, 20-9.  Again, no statistics appear to be available for York, but he did have at least one "leaping catch."  Chandler Park is now 5-2.

October 19, 2012:  York put up his team's only points in their 44-6 loss to Warren (MI) De La Salle on a 14-yard touchdown reception.  Chandler Park finishes the season 5-3.

Recruit Tracker: Shane Morris

Shane Morris
August 24, 2012: Morris's Warren (MI) De La Salle team beat Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer by a score of 35-7.  Morris was 14/26 passing for 177 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

September 1, 2012: De La Salle lost to Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius by a score of 49-13.  Morris was 9/22 passing for 104 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.  His team is now 1-1.

September 8, 2012:  De La Salle beat Dearborn (MI) Fordson by a score of 40-19.  Morris completed 9/18 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.  Warren De La Salle is now 2-1.

September 15, 2012:  Even though Morris was diagnosed with Mono earlier in the week, he still managed to play the first half of De La Salle's 28-0 loss to Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice Saturday night.  Shane completed 8/17 passes for 87 yards and one interception.  Warren De La Salle is now 2-2.

September 23, 2012:  By now you probably know that Shane Morris has mono and is out of action for the foreseeable future.  His team put on a good performance against Detroit Catholic Central Sunday afternoon but ultimately fell in overtime by a score of 31-30.  De La Salle is now 2-3 and most likely out of postseason contention. 

September 29, 2012:  De La Salle played host to Ontario (Canada) Niagara at St. Claire Shores Lake Shore on Saturday afternoon.  Despite Shane's absence, De La Salle took care of business and won the game by a score of 32-0.  De La Salle is now 3-3.

October 6, 2012:  Shane Morris says that he will be back in action before the end of De La Salle's season.  His team was rolled by Orchard Lake St. Mary's, 35-0, Saturday while he cheered from the sidelines, but Morris said before the game that he has been back practicing for over a week and is waiting to be cleared medically for full contact.  He is currently being held out due to a swollen spleen, but tweeted that he feels "100% better."  De La Salle has two games remaining; they are now 3-4.

October 12, 2012:  Morris returned to the lineup for Warren De La Salle after missing the last three full games due to mono.  His Pilots defeated University of Detroit Jesuit, 39-12, and he finished the game 17/22 passing for 163 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions with a long of 28 yards.  De Las Salle is now 4-4.

October 19, 2012:  Morris played exclusively in the first half of his team's 44-6 win over Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park if only to "shake off some rust."  He finished with one touchdown and two interceptions on 5/14 passing for 138 yards.  118 of those yards came on two screen passes.  De La Salle is now 5-4 and likely out of postseason contention.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Drew Dileo
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Drew Dileo.  He's not a big-play threat in the sense that he'll run a long way after the catch or break open deep, but he's a very clutch receiver who just finds ways to get open.  And when the ball gets thrown to him, he catches it.  Knock on wood.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Jeremy Jackson.  Denard Robinson targeted Jackson deep a couple times, and it was uneventful.  Jackson is a slow possession receiver.  If you want to run someone deep, send Gardner, Roundtree, or Gallon.  Heck, even Amara Darboh runs better than Jackson, though the former is just a freshman.  Jackson isn't even that great of a blocker, so I'm not sure why he's seeing so much time.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Raymon Taylor.  I'm not Taylor's biggest fan, but I'm starting to get concerned about the cornerback depth once again.  With starter Blake Countess out for the season and his replacement Taylor knocked out of the game on Sunday, Michigan was nearing the bottom of the barrel.  The only scholarship corners left are sophomore Delonte Hollowell and freshman Terry Richardson, both of whom are tiny and inexperienced.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody.  The defense is playing very well.

Play of the game . . . in a tight game like this, there were lots of key plays.  One was Thomas Gordon raking the ball out of the tight end's hands on the goal line.  Another was Robinson's late throw to Dileo to set up the field goal.  But I have to give this one to Brendan Gibbons for hitting the 38-yard, game-winning field goal.

MVP of the game . . . Drew Dileo.  Yeah, somebody had to throw the passes, but Michigan's receivers were struggling to get open and struggling to hold onto the ball.  But Dileo didn't really have those issues.  He was also the holder on all four field goals.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Football Defense: 22 Keys to Success for Your 4-2-5 Defense

Andreia Brazier
Michigan doesn't run a 4-2-5 except for its nickel package, but in case you're curious how it's done, check out this post from the creatively titled blog Football Defense.

Video: Hoke, players' postgame press conferences

Michigan 12, Michigan State 10

Drew Dileo (image via
Well, that was terrifying.  That was way too much of a heart attack game for my liking.  I mean, I still liked the end result and everything, but that game was frustrating.  Neither team could do anything consistently on offense, and I'm not convinced that it's because both defenses are great.  Both defenses are very good, but the offenses are just so-so.

That being said, yay!  Good golly, I hate Mark Dantonio.  I hate William Gholston, too, but Dantonio is the biggest tool of a coach in the Big Ten, even more so than Bret Bielema.  It would have felt great to see Dantonio lose, even if Michigan wasn't the opponent.  It just makes the win that much sweeter that seniors Denard Robinson, Elliott Mealer, Patrick Omameh, Jordan Kovacs, Craig Roh, etc. succeed in their last chance to beat the Spartans.  Congratulations to those guys.

Thank you, Drew Dileo.  Wide receiver Drew Dileo played a great game.  He's never going to be the fastest player in the field, and he certainly isn't the biggest.  But he's the type of do-it-all player and possession receiver that finds all kinds of ways to win a football game.  He came up huge in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech, and he had another standout performance on Saturday with 4 catches for 92 yards . . . and as the holder on all four of Michigan's scoring plays.

Brendan Gibbons and Matt Wile were great.  I was extremely impressed with the solid kicking from these two guys.  Gibbons was 3/3 kicking, including the 38-yard game-winner.  Wile was 1/1 in his first career chance to kick a field goal, and that one was a long attempt from 48 yards.  Obviously, each of the four kicks was huge.

Jeremy Jackson is slow.  At a couple points in the game, I couldn't help harking back to the days when wide receiver Jeremy Jackson was recruited.  I said then that he didn't have the athleticism to be an impact player at Michigan, and I still question why he's on the field so much.  Denard Robinson targeted him a couple times deep, and while the throws could have been more accurate, Jackson looked like he was running in quicksand.  If the play call is for someone to go deep, then Jackson should be replaced by someone with a little giddyup.

The defense was pretty darn good.  There wasn't much of a pass rush, and the coverage on the outside was mediocre.  But the Wolverines only allowed 68 yards to Le'Veon Bell (on 26 carries) and 86 total rushing yards to the offense (punter Mike Sadler ran 26 yards on a fake punt, which I won't pin on the defense).  Desmond Morgan (11 tackles) is playing very well, and Jake Ryan (10 tackles, 1 sack) was all over the place once again, and Bell's longest run was 8 yards.

Cornerbacks are a concern.  J.T. Floyd made a couple nice plays on short passes and supporting the run, which is an improvement for him; however, he was beaten deep a couple times by receivers who were unable to hook up with MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell.  Meanwhile, Raymon Taylor left with an elbow injury, leaving the opposite side to slot corner Courtney Avery.  I'm hoping that Taylor can return soon, because the Wolverines are running out of healthy corners.  The only other guys left on the roster are backup slot corner Delonte Hollowell and tiny freshman Terry Richardson.

Michigan has 900 wins.  That's more wins than any other football program in the history of the whole wide universe.  By comparison, Michigan State has 643 all-time victories.  The Wolverines are now 68-32-5 against the Spartans.

Detroit News: U-M cornerback Steve Wilson performs cancer research

Once you're done watching the above video, check out this article from the Detroit News on how walk-on quarterback/receiver/cornerback Steve Wilson is doing cancer research.

Denzel Ward, Wolverine

Denzel Ward
Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward, a 2014 prospect, committed to Michigan on Saturday.  He chose the Wolverines over an offer from Purdue.

Ward is 6'9" and 290 lbs.  He is not ranked by the recruiting services, and testing results are unavailable at this point.  Ward is in his first year of playing football, and he hasn't released any film yet.  He was offered by the coaching staff last weekend when he visited for Michigan's game against Illinois, and he returned this weekend to give his commitment.

It might be obvious to say, but I have no strong opinion on Ward because I haven't seen any film of him.  I do find it a little surprising that Michigan's coaching staff is taking a flyer on a kid who is so new to football when they have such a great 2013 offensive line recruiting class already in the fold.  It seems like they've established a desire and ability to recruit truly elite talents, so Ward must look like a Hall of Fame athlete if they're willing to take the time to develop him.

If Michigan gets back up to 85 scholarships with the class of 2013, then 17 current Michigan juniors will be scheduled to graduate after the 2013 season.  So Michigan's 2014 freshman class looks to be 17 strong, but as always, the number will probably grow between now and February 2014.  Ward joins linebacker Michael Ferns as Michigan's only other 2014 commit.

UPDATE: Here's a link to Ward's junior highlights and a scouting report.  Film wasn't released until about a month after Ward committed, so these two items were added later.

TTB Rating: 86

Saturday, October 20, 2012 The do-or-die life of kickers

Melanie Iglesias
This article is from September, but I hadn't linked it or seen much about it.  It talks about the difficult life of a kicker, and it includes a pretty in-depth chunk about former Michigan kicker Phil Brabbs.

Happy 6000000th Pageview!

Ashley Sky

Ashley Valence

Brooklyn Decker

Catalina Otalvaro

Marisa Miller

Denise Milani

Nathalia Melo
Krystal Forscutt

Visitors: Michigan vs. Michigan State

This list is fluid, so names may be added or removed as the week goes along.  I'll add write-ups on some of these players as I find time during the week.  (EDIT: Recent news suggests that some of the class of 2013 "official visits" will actually be unofficials because there are so many recruits in town; lots of recruits at one time means there's less time for individual attention, obviously.)

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech DE Joshua Alabi:  Alabi is a 6'4", 245 defensive end/defensive tackle prospect from the class of 2015.  He has no offers at this point, but he is likely to become a highly touted player as his career continues.  He looks as if he'll eventually end up as an interior player.  Alabi visited Michigan for the game against Air Force earlier this fall. (Highlight at the end of this video.)

Cincinnati (OH) Sycamore LB Tinashe Bere:  Bere is a 6'1", 210 lb. inside linebacker prospect from the class of 2014.  He has a lone offer from Illinois, and I doubt that he will be offered by Michigan.  Michigan only seems to be going after elite linebacker prospects, and Bere doesn't appear to fit into that category.  He's the former teammate of freshman tight end A.J. Williams. (Highlights.)

Indianapolis (IN) Pike WR Dominique Booth: Booth is a 6'1", 195 lb. wideout from the class of 2014.  He has offers from Cal, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Purdue, and Wisconsin, among others.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 46 catches for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns. (Highlights.)

St. Charles (IL) East OG Brennan Bosch:  Bosch is a 6'2", 235 lb. offensive line prospect for the class of 2015, so he's just a sophomore.  He is the younger brother of 2013 Michigan offensive guard commit Kyle Bosch; the younger has an offer from Illinois already.

Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OG Kyle Bosch: Bosch committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge DE Robert Bowers: Bowers is a 6'6", 210 lb. defensive end prospect from the class of 2014.  He has a lone offer from Cincinnati.  He's very lanky and a good athlete, but he looks like he'll need to develop physically a little bit if he wants to get big-time offers.  This was Bowers' second visit to Michigan. (Highlights.)

Pickerington (OH) North TE Jake Butt: Butt committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell:  Campbell is a 6'3", 190 lb. quarterback from the class of 2015.  He already has offers from Alabama and Notre Dame.  As a freshman in 2011, he had 2,000 passing yards, threw 32 touchdowns, and had just 6 interceptions.  Campbell is the teammate of 2013 commit Jourdan Lewis and the former teammate of freshman linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone and freshman cornerback Terry Richardson. (Highlights.)

Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake OT Mason Cole: Cole is a 6'5", 275 lb. offensive line prospect from the class of 2014.  He visited Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House back in July, and he has offers from the likes of Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.  Some people have suggested that his previous visit to Michigan vaulted the Wolverines to the top of his list, and a good game against MSU could result in a commitment. (Highlights.)

Massillon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley: Conley committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Columbus (OH) Hamilton ATH Micky Crum:  Crum is a 6'4", 212 lb. prospect for the class of 2014 who already has an offer from Bowling Green.  Ohio Preps named him the #19 in-state prospect for his class.  He's planning to play quarterback as a senior next season, but right now he's playing tight end and linebacker.  I could see him playing tight end or SAM at the next level. (Highlights.)

Massillon (OH) Washington OG Nathaniel Devers: Devers is a 6'3", 265 lb. offensive guard prospect from the class of 2014.  He has a lone offer from Toledo.  Devers has visited Michigan previously, but did not earn an offer at the time.  His teammate is Gareon Conley.(Highlights.)

Grand Rapids (MI) Christian OG Tommy Doles: Doles is a 6'5", 245 lb. offensive line prospect from the class of 2014.  He has already been offered by Iowa State and Michigan, though his lack of bulk might be preventing him from more offers.  Being a highly coveted prospect might depend on how much weight he can add in the next several months, but he's a very athletic kid with a high motor.  Michigan is considered to be his leader.

Avon (OH) Avon CB Ross Douglas: Douglas committed to Michigan back in July.  Here's a look at how his senior season is going.

Columbus (OH) Marion-Franklin WR Jaron Dukes: Dukes committed to Michigan in May.  This is his official visit.

Crystal Lake (IL) Prairie Ridge OT Shane Evans:  Evans is a 6'4", 250 lb. prospect from the class of 2014.  He has no offers at this time.

Muskegon (MI) Muskegon DT Kenny Finley:  Finley is a 6'3", 265 lb. defensive tackle prospect from the class of 2014.  Muskegon is the alma mater of former Michigan defensive tackle Terrance Taylor, and the school has produced several other FBS prospects in recent years.

Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox: Fox committed to Michigan back in February.

Hudson (OH) Hudson LB Ben Gedeon: Gedeon committed to Michigan back in April.  Check out how his senior season is going.

Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB Derrick Green:  Green is a 6'1", 225 lb. running back who has been offered by Michigan, along with most of the big-time programs across the country.  I did a couple scouting reports on Green (one live, one from video).  Green has had several different teams high on his list (Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, etc.), but one constant has been Michigan.  Both of his other presumed leaders at this point - Auburn and Tennessee - are having iffy or poor seasons, so a good performance against Michigan State this weekend could vault Michigan into the lead if he's looking for a program headed in the right direct.  This is his official visit.

Woodbridge (VA) Woodbridge DE Da'Shawn Hand:  Hand is a 6'4", 245 lb. prospect from the class of 2014.  He already has offers from most of the big-time programs around the nation.  He's also generally considered to be the top overall recruit in his class.  The fact that he's driving up from Virginia during the season suggests that his interest in Michigan is strong, so hopefully the Wolverines can make a good impression on Saturday. UPDATE: Hand is no longer planning to attend Saturday's game. (Highlights.)

Berea (KY) Madison Southern RB Damien Harris: Harris is a 5'11", 201 lb. tailback prospect from the class of 2015.  He's one of just two current sophomores to have an offer from the Wolverines.  As a freshman in 2011, he had 62 carries for 742 yards (12.0 yards/carry) and 12 touchdowns.  This will be his second time visiting Michigan, and his highlights are very impressive from early in his sophomore season:

Huber Heights (OH) Wayne LB Dorian Hendrix:  Hendrix is a 6'1", 215 lb. linebacker prospect from the class of 2014.  He attends the alma mater of former Michigan cornerback Terrence Talbott and defensive tackle Terry Talbott.  Hendrix already has offers from Bowling Green, Illinois, and Toledo, among others.  Ohio Preps lists him as the #11 player in the state of Ohio for 2014.  He looks to me like a middle linebacker prospect, but I'm not sure that Michigan will be looking for many more linebackers in the 2014 class. (Highlights.)

Detroit (MI) East English Village TE Khalid Hill:  Hill committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech RB/LB Gary Hosey:  Hosey is a 6'0", 225 lb. prospect from the class of 2014.  He does not have any offers at this point.  Michigan is looking at him as a potential running back recruit, but I don't think he has the speed to be a BCS-level tailback; fullback might be more likely, but I'm not sure how many scholarships the Wolverines coaching staff will allot for fullbacks, with Sione Houma already on the roster and Wyatt Shallman coming in 2013.

Pickerington (OH) North RB Godwin Igwebuike: Igwebuike is a 5'11", 185 lb. running back who's the teammate of 2013 defensive end commit Jake Butt.  He has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Nebraska, Pitt, and Wisconsin, and he's currently committed to Northwestern, so he's no slouch.  If Michigan can't reel in Derrick Green, Igwebuike might be a backup plan. (Highlights.)

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison RB Ashton Jackson:  Jackson is a 5'11", 180 lb. running back from the class of 2014.  He has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, and Purdue, among others.  His teammate is 2013 Michigan linebacker commit Mike McCray.  As a sophomore in 2011, Jackson had 1,100 yards rushing and 18 rushing touchdowns. (Highlights.)

Westland (MI) John Glenn WR Da'Mario Jones:  Jones is a 6'2", 185 lb. wide receiver who is currently committed to Central Michigan.  He also has offers from Bowling Green and Toledo, but he appears to be a backup plan option in case the recruitment of Crete (IL) Crete-Monee wide receiver LaQuon Treadwell falls through. (Highlights.)

Cleveland (OH) Glenville OG Marcelys Jones:  Jones is a 6'4", 325 lb. offensive guard prospect from the class of 2014.  He does not have a Michigan offer, but he has been offered by Indiana and Ohio State; a Michigan offer might not be too far in the future.  Glenville is the alma mater of sophomore defensive end Frank Clark and freshman defensive tackle Willie Henry.

Cincinnati (OH) La Salle WR Derek Kief:  Kief is a 6'5", 185 lb. receiver from the class of 2014.  He already has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, and Indiana, among others.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 48 catches for 680 yards (14.1 yards/catch) and 10 touchdowns.  He's a taller guy with good ball skills, sort of like Jaron Dukes with a little more speed. (Highlights.)

Muskegon (MI) Muskegon OG Malik King: King is a 6'4", 275 lb. offensive guard.

Huber Heights (OH) Wayne CB Tyree Kinnel: Kinnel is a 5'11", 170 lb. corner from the class of 2014.  He does not have any offers at this time.  He also visited Michigan last weekend for the Illinois game, and  (Highlights.)

Wexford (PA) North Allegheny C Patrick Kugler: Kugler committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Red Oak (TX) Red Oak S Ronnie Larue:  Larue is a 6'0", 185 lb. high school quarterback who is being looked at by Michigan to play strong safety.  The 2014 prospect claims a 4.58 forty and a 4.03 shuttle time, as well as a 280 lb. bench; those numbers are pretty impressive for a small-ish high school quarterback. (Highlights.)

Cleveland (OH) Glenville WR Marshon Lattimore:  Lattimore is a 6'0", 175 lb. wideout with offers from Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Michigan, and others.  He attends Ohio State pipeline Glenville, but Michigan has made inroads at the school in the past couple recruiting classes. (Highlights.)

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech CB Jourdan Lewis: Lewis committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Westerville (OH) South TE Darryl Long:  Long is a 6'4", 220 lb. tight end from the 2014 class.  He plays some wide receiver in high school, but he'll likely move to tight end; at Michigan he would probably be a U-back like Devin Funchess.  Long's lone offer so far is from Ohio. (Highlights.)

Woodbridge (VA) Woodbridge QB Mike Majette: Majette is a 5'10", 176 lb. quarterback from the class of 2015.  He's the teammate of 2014 defensive prospect of Da'Shawn Hand.  He already has an offer from West Virginia, but he's likely a little small (at this point) to be considered a legitimate prospect to play quarterback at Michigan.  Michigan would likely look at him more as a defensive back.  UPDATE: Majett is no longer planning to attend Saturday's game.  (Highlights.)

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison WR Kendric Mallory:  Mallory is a 6'2", 174 lb. receiver in the class of 2014.  He has an offer from Illinois and is the teammate of 2013 Michigan linebacker commit Mike McCray. (Highlights.)

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray II:  McCray committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Warren (MI) De La Salle QB Shane Morris: Morris committed to Michigan in May of 2011.  This is Morris's official visit.

Monroeville (PA) Gateway S Montae Nicholson:  Nicholson is a 6'2", 200 lb. safety from the class of 2014.  He has visited Michigan previously and earned an offer at Michigan's summer camp back in June; he also has offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and West Virginia, among others.  Nicholson would likely play strong safety at a place like Michigan. (Highlight.)

Monroeville (PA) Gateway WR Ricky Rogers:  Rogers is a 6'2", 192 lb. receiver from the class of 2014.  He already has offers from Pitt, Rutgers, and West Virginia.  Rogers has some speed and the ability to go up and get the ball, but he's not an upper echelon talent.  He may earn an offer down the road, but I don't think he's a guy that Michigan will offer this early in the process.  (Highlight.)

Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake WR Artavis Scott:  Scott is a 5'11", 180 lb. receiver from the class of 2014.  His teammate is Mason Cole, an offensive tackle with a Michigan offer.  So far Scott has offers from Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and West Virginia, among others.  I think there's a very strong chance that Michigan offers Scott on the visit, though I doubt he would jump on the opportunity to commit.

Marion (OH) Harding RB L.J. Scott:  Scott is a 5'10", 210 lb. running back prospect with an offer from Kent State; he also reportedly has an offer from the Wolverines, though that might not be a "committable" offer.  He's a 2014 prospect who had 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011. (Highlights.)

Novi (MI) Catholic Central RB Wyatt Shallman: Shallman committed to Michigan back in February.

Cleveland (OH) Glenville S Erick Smith:  Smith is a 6'1", 185 lb. safety prospect for the class of 2014.  His lone offer at this point is from Georgia Tech.  I would not be surprised to see him earn a Michigan offer in the future, although he might not be a guy who needs to be offered right this instant. (Highlights.)

Middletown (OH) Middletown TE Chance Sorrell:  Sorrell is a 6'6", 229 lb. tight end prospect from the class of 2014.  He has no offers at this point, and he suffered a broken ankle this season, so those offers might not come anytime soon.  He's a big kid who looks a bit like Craig Roh on the field, a good-but-not-great athlete.  I don't think he'll be offered by Michigan at this stage, but he could be an option down the road. (Highlights.)

Sylvania (OH) Southview DT Ryan Stout:  Stout is a 6'5", 245 lb. defensive tackle prospect from the class of 2014.  He has offers from Akron, Bowling Green, and Toledo.  Southview is the alma mater of freshman safety Allen Gant.  In his first five games this season, Stout had 45 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks. (Highlights.)

Louisville (KY) Central S Donald Styles: Styles is a 5'10", 180 lb. safety prospect without any offers at this time.  However, he's a solid hitter with decent speed, and he looks to me like an FBS prospect, though maybe not fast enough for elite level offers. (Highlights.)

Ottawa (IL) Marquette LS Scott Sypniewski: Sypniewski committed to Michigan in June.

Alliance (OH) Marlington S Dymonte Thomas: Thomas committed to Michigan last year.  Here's a look at how his senior year is going.  This is his official visit.

Monroeville (PA) Gateway TE/LB Brenon Thrift: Thrift is a 6'3", 230 lb. prospect for 2014.  He already has offers from Pitt and West Virginia.  He visited Michigan back in the summer, but WVU is his current leader. (Highlights.)

Peoria (IL) Manual OT Logan Tuley-Tillman: Tuley-Tillman committed to Michigan back in February.  This is his official visit.

Crete (IL) Crete-Monee WR LaQuon Treadwell: I scouted Treadwell prior to the beginning of the 2012 season, and nothing he's done as a senior has diminished my thoughts on him.  He's one of the top few receivers in the country and has the ability to be a possession guy or a big-play guy, whichever type is needed for the program.  UPDATE: Treadwell did not make it to Ann Arbor.

Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan OT Denzel Ward:  Ward is a 6'9", 295 lb. offensive tackle from the class of 2014 who was offered by Michigan when he visited Ann Arbor last weekend.  There's some buzz about him possibly committing this weekend, although he said after last weekend's visit that he wanted to consider his options and have a discussion with his parents.  There's no film on him yet, so I have no analysis on how he plays the game.  He also has an offer from Purdue.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech CB Damon Webb: Webb is a 5'11", 170 lb. prospect from the class of 2014.  LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State are all major players in his recruitment, though LSU and Michigan seem to be out front.  He could also play wide receiver at the next level, though his physicality suggests that he has a higher ceiling on defense.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech RB Mikey Weber: Weber is a 5'10", 195 lb. prospect from the class of 2015.  He was hurt as a freshman and for part of this season, but there's some buzz around him due to the speed he has showcased at times.  He has no offers at this point, but a sophomore running back with his speed and physical development is likely to get some good looks at Cass Tech soon.

Detroit (MI) Country Day QB Tyler Wiegers:  Wiegers is a 6'4", 197 lb. quarterback from the class of 2014 who holds offers from Toledo and Western Michigan.  He doesn't have the best arm and isn't a great athlete, but I like the way Wiegers commands the offense and his accuracy, and he also has a decent arm.  If Michigan is going to take a guy in 2014 who's a backup type, I think Wiegers could fill that role.  He's not a superstar and isn't a guy who will unite the fan base like Shane Morris, but that might not be what the coaches are looking for in 2014. (Highlights.)

Minster (OH) Minster TE Ethan Wolf: Wolf is a 6'6", 221 lb. prospect for the class of 2014.  He has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, and Toledo, among others.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 20 receptions for 392 yards.

Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy WR Csont'e York: York committed to Michigan back in May.  This is York's official visit.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rivals: The Quick Impact of Top QBs

Hillary Fisher
This Rivals article discusses the impact of the class of 2013 quarterbacks during their upcoming freshman seasons.  Michigan recruit Shane Morris is mentioned a couple times, and former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is getting a fairly highly touted QB out at Arizona named Anu Solomon.

Attractive Michigan Girls of the Week

Drop me an e-mail if you have any other pictures of girls wearing Michigan gear.  Go Blue!

Preview: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Rush Offense vs. MSU Rush Defense

Michigan is #17 in rushing offense with 233 yards/game.  As you probably could have guess, Denard Robinson leads the team in rushing; he gets 134 yards/game himself and is the nation's fourth-best rusher.  Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (46 yards/game) is feeling a push from backup Thomas Rawls, who has gained 174 yards and score 2 touchdowns on just 25 carries, albeit mostly in mop-up duty.  Meanwhile, the Spartans are #8 in the country against the run and give up just 91 yards/game.  There's a bit of turmoil on their defense, though, because starting linebacker and captain Chris Norman was benched last week in favor of Taiwan Jones, and Kurtis Drummond was promoted to the starting role at safety, because of underperformance on their parts.  Linebacker Max Bullough leads the team with 58 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.  Defensive ends Marcus Rush and William Gholston are both somewhat disruptive forces at defensive end, but the defensive tackles are mediocre.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. MSU Pass Defense
The Spartans have the #12 pass efficiency defense and the #17 pass defense, giving up just over 178 yards/game.  Clearly, this is not because teams are having so much success in the running game that they don't have to pass.  The Spartans are legitimately good.  In the last couple games, Michigan has really committed to its running game and essentially given up on hoping that Denard Robinson's passing can win games for them.  The Wolverines will use play action passes and get guys like Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess open that way.  The Spartans have a couple solid corners, and their front seven will get some pressure if Michigan is forced into obvious passing situations, so Michigan will have to stay on schedule by running the ball.  No MSU player has more than one interception, but Johnny Adams is considered by some to be the conference's best corner.
Advantage: Michigan State

Rush Defense vs. MSU Rush Offense
The Wolverines are #55 in rush defense and give up 148 yards/game, but a huge chunk of those yards were piled up by Alabama and Air Force in the first couple weeks.  In the last three games, Michigan has given up 94, 56, and 105 yards on the ground.  The linebackers are rounding into form, and nose tackle Quinton Washington has started to assert himself as a bit of a space eater up the middle.  The Spartans are surprisingly 84th in the nation running the ball as a team; they get 144 yards/game, but workhorse tailback Le'veon Bell gets 130 of those each week.  Michigan State's offensive line has been battered and wasn't great to begin with, and that's beginning to show.  Bell will gain some yards because he breaks tackles, but this likely won't be one of his better rushing days.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Defense vs. MSU Pass Offense
The Spartans have thrown for 236 yards/game so far this season, but leading receiver Dion Sims might miss the game due to injury; he averages 4 receptions and 52 yards/game.  Keith Mumphery and Aaron Burbridge have both stepped up in recent weeks, and those are a couple guys who can run after the catch.  Michigan's performance last week against Illinois jumped them all the way up to #3 nationally in passing yards allowed per game (139), but the Wolverines are #95 in sacks and don't have great cover guys on the outside; however, they put pressure on quarterbacks by slanting linemen and sending guys from the back seven.  Quarterbacks can get rid of the ball, but they're often in a hurry to do so.
Advantage: Michigan

Roster Notes
  • Michigan recruited WR De'Anthony Arnett, WR Aaron Burbridge, RB Larry Caper, LB Ed Davis, S Kurtis Drummond, DE William Gholston, DT Tyler Hoover, WR Monty Madaris, LB Chris Norman, DE Marcus Rush, TE Dion Sims, and DE Lawrence Thomas.
  • LS Taybor Pepper was once committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on, but then signed with MSU after they offered a him a scholarship.
  • Michigan plays their most emotional game of the year.
  • Denard Robinson reverses his trend of playing poorly against Michigan State, but still throws a pick.
  • Aaron Burbridge burns Michigan once or twice for big plays.
  • Le'veon Bell has a forgettable game.
  • Michigan 24, Michigan State 17
A Look Back . . . 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ESPN: Second-half breakout players

Travis Haney from ESPN puts forth some ideas for breakout players going into the second half of the NCAA football season.  The list includes Michigan's own Devin Gardner.

Video: Inside Michigan Football 2012 - Episode 8

Video: Michigan vs. Illinois 2012 - Every Snap

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Jay Feely

Jay Feely missed a 38-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Arizona Cardinals at the very end of regulation.  Instead of securing the victory, his team was forced into overtime and eventually lost to the Buffalo Bills, 19-16, giving the Cardinals only their second loss of the season.  That's not a great way to get named the former Michigan athlete of the week.

Then again, Feely's team never would have been in position to win the game if not for his incredible 61-yard game tying boot just one minute before.  The kick sets Arizona's franchise record for longest field goal and is only two yards short of the NFL record.  Only five kickers in NFL history have successfully kicked a field goal of longer distance.  

"You don't think there is any way a guy is going to make a 61-yarder," Buffalo Coach Chan Gailey said, "and then you think for sure he is going to make the short one and he doesn't."

Honorable Mention:  Mike Martin recorded six tackles, a tackle for for a loss, and a hit on the quarterback, as his Titans won over the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 26-23.  Martin helped his defense hold the Steelers to only 56 yards on the ground and a mere 2.5 yards per carry.  He came in for some praise from the Titans' head coach following the performance.
"I think when we drafted him we felt really good about him, and I think we all felt he could contribute right away like Casey did, like Klug did," coach Munchak said.  "He's hard to block.  That's why we like him.  He beats double teams, he's hard to block in the zone game when the center is trying to reach him on the back. . . .He's going to be a very good football player for us.  You saw flashes of that last night.  He was making plays.  Those (defensive tackles) are doubled a lot, and I think our defensive tackles have really all year played pretty good."
  • Tim Jamison tore his Achilles and was placed on the Texans' Injured Reserve.
  • Tom Brady put the ball in the air 58 times and threw for 395 yards in a 24-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.  Braylon Edwards caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the game.
  • Brandon Graham recorded one tackle and Jason Avant caught two passes for 21 yards as their Eagles lost to the Lions, 26-23.
  • Stevie Brown tracker continues:  he tallied four tackles for the Giants in their shocking 26-3 beat down of the 49ers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Celebrities for Charity: Zoltan Mesko's London Ticket Raffle

Kelly Karloff
Check out the Celebrities for Charity raffle for tickets to the Patriots vs. Rams game in London.  This one features former Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko.

Video: Pre-Gaming with Pat - Illinois

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Houston WR Dewayne Peace gets tackled during the Cougars' 39-17 victory.
Former Michigan S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 1 tackle in Toledo's 52-47 victory over Eastern Michigan.

Former Michigan S Carvin Johnson: Johnson had 5 tackles in last week's 38-26 loss to Bethune-Cookman.  He then had 4 tackles in the most recent game, a 28-14 victory over Norfolk State.  He's second on the team with 41 tackles.

Former Michigan RB Sam McGuffie: McGuffie had 3 receptions for 21 yards and 1 carry for 0 yards in Rice's 34-14 victory over the University of Texas-San Antonio.  He has just 8 catches for 34 yards in his last two games.

Former Michigan WR/CB commit Dewayne Peace: Peace had 5 catches for 61 yards and 2 punt returns for 30 yards in Houston's 39-17 victory over UAB.

Former Michigan WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 1 reception for 25 yards in Bowling Green's 37-12 victory over Miami-OH.

Former Michigan S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 1 tackle and half a sack in Pitt's 45-35 loss to Louisville.

Former Michigan CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had 4 tackles in Cincinnati's 49-17 victory over Fordham.